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Archive for Saturday, July 21, 2007

Darn! Wilson eliminated in round of 16

LHS grad advances on opponent’s expletive, but Cinderella story ends in ensuing match

July 21, 2007

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— With Spencer Wilson tied going into the 17th hole of the Kansas Amateur match play's round of 32, one anticipated a climactic Friday morning finish.

And a dramatic conclusion ensued.

Upon driving his tee shot into the left rough, Wilson's opponent, Josh Taylor, screamed a four-letter expletive. Officials, standing 106 yards away on the 13th tee of the Topeka Country Club, heard his curse word and disqualified Taylor for unbecoming conduct.

"Unfortunately he did something that was egregious enough in the eyes of three of our volunteers that saw it to warrant his removal," said Casey Old, the Kansas Golf Association's director of rules and competition. "We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to conduct."

Taylor, a University of Missouri-Kansas City golfer, allegedly responded to his disqualification by hurling a golf ball on to the street. He claimed he had muttered the curse word under his breath, but observers said he repeatedly swore throughout the match. As a result of his display, Taylor faces a one-year ban from KGA competition.

It also meant that Wilson, the 23-year-old Lawrence High graduate, advanced to the round of 16 later Friday. In that round, however, the No. 49 seed's Cinderella story ended with a 2-and-1 loss to No. 1 seed Wes Stonestreet.

"I'm more encouraged than anything because I feel like I hit the ball well," Wilson said. "But I'm still not quite there."

Going into the back nine, Wilson led by one during his seesaw match. On the 15th hole, Stonestreet birdied a 15-footer while Wilson missed a seven-footer to keep pace.

"He grabbed the momentum there," Wilson said. "He just made putts down the stretch. That's what he had to do to win, and he did it."

Stonestreet increased his lead with a birdie on the next hole, and Wilson again scored a par.

Wilson, who did not play golf collegiately but works for Golf USA, can take pride in advancing so far during the 64-person, three-day event, especially considering he deemed his short-game performance less than his best. He did not sink a putt from more than ten feet away during his three matches.

"I brought my B game," he said. "I feel like if I can really bring that part of my game through, I can start shooting some numbers."

Wilson's sister, Sydney, a Kansas University golfer, accompanied Spencer, and his father, Doug, caddied for him. Did Doug impart any fatherly wisdom?

"He followed my advice and didn't give me any advice," Spencer Wilson said, jokingly.

Perhaps Taylor should have kept silent as well. His disqualification represents just the second time the KGA has removed someone for detrimental conduct since implementing the policy this year.

The KGA states its zero-tolerance policy on the back of scorecards, a sign at the first tee and on its Web site.

"Everybody knows," Old said.

That lesson was reinforced Friday.

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